The Medicinal Herb Info site was created to help educate visitors about the often forgotten wisdom of the old ways of treating illnesses. Many of today's drugs and medicines were originally derived from natural ingredients, combinations of plants and other items found in nature.

We are not suggesting that you ignore the help of trained medical professionals, simply that you have additional options available for treating illnesses. Often the most effective treatment involves a responsible blend of both modern and traditional treatments.

We wish you peace and health!


Scientific Names


  • Euphorbia ipecacuanhae L.
  • Madder family

Common Names

  • Wild ipecac

Back to Top

Parts Usually Used

Leaves, root
Back to Top

Description of Plant(s) and Culture

Wild ipecac is a large-rooted perennial with underground stems; the plant grows 3-12 inches tall with a stem that is smooth, succulent. The leaves are inserted at the joints; rounded to linear, green to purple. Solitary flowers are on long stalks; the “cups” have 5 glands, with narrow, white, yellow, green, or purple appendages. Blooms in April to May.
Back to Top

Where Found

Found in sandy soil; mostly coastal. New Jersey to Florida. Found in southwestern Brazil.
Back to Top

Medicinal Properties

Emetic, laxative, vermifuge
Back to Top

Legends, Myths and Stories

Because it induces vomiting, this herb is often abused by teenage girls suffering from bulimia, an eating disorder characterized by gorging and purging.
Back to Top


Native Americans used the leaf tea for diabetes; root tea as a strong laxative and emetic, for pinworms, rheumatism; poulticed the root on snakebites. This herb induces vomiting and is therefore a good remedy for food poisoning and other kinds of ingested poisoning.
Back to Top

How Sold

Sold as Syrup of Ipecac in pharmacies
Back to Top


It is not always appropriate to induce vomiting in cases of poisoning. Call your doctor or the local poison alert hotline before inducing vomiting or giving any drug to a poison victim.

Extremely strong laxative. The juice from the fresh plant may cause blistering. The herb is very toxic except in diluted syrup form.

Keep out of the reach of children and teenagers.
Back to Top


Buy It! American Folk Medicine, by Clarence Meyer, Meyerbooks, publisher, PO Box 427, Glenwood, Illinois 60425, 1973

Buy It! Earl Mindell’s Herb Bible, by Earl Mindell, R.Ph., Ph.D., Simon & Schuster/Fireside, Rockefeller Center 1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, New York 10020

Buy It! Eastern/Central Medicinal Plants, by Steven Foster and James A. Duke., Houghton Mifflin Company, 215 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10000

Buy It! Indian Herbalogy of North America, by Alma R. Hutchens, Shambala Publications, Inc., Horticultural Hall, 300 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, 1973

Buy It! The Nature Doctor: A Manual of Traditional and Complementary Medicine, by Dr. H.C.A. Vogel; Keats Publishing, Inc., 27 Pine Street (Box 876) New Canaan, CT. 06840-0876. Copyright Verlag A. Vogel, Teufen (AR) Switzerland 1952, 1991

Buy It! Webster’s New World Dictionary, Third College Edition, Victoria Neufeldt, Editor in Chief, New World Dictionaries: A Division of Simon & Schuster, Inc., 15 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10023

Back to Top